Hello! I'm Suzannah, a serious DIYer. Follow along with my DIY fixer upper house renovations, sewing and crafty projects, real food recipes, and de-stressing goals. I'm a recovering former vegan and vegetarian, now healing with a nutrient-dense mostly Paleo diet, and love at-home CrossFit and yoga workouts. I'm also the author of DIY Wardrobe Makeovers!

New mom to baby Otto born April 2018!


Wow! My engagement pics on La Belle Bride!

I was so excited today to find our engagement pics posted on La Belle Bride!  Check it out!

La Belle Bride is a beautiful and fun wedding blog that I often consulted while planning our wedding.  They show a lot of original ideas there, love it!

Here's my post with a bunch of our engagement pics and the story behind the dresses I made for them!

BHLDN dress inspiration for fall

Seems like evening dresses are often so cute for summer, but what about fall and winter?  These BHLDN fall-ey dresses are just gorgeous...

Here it is again without the dreamy lighting and rustic setting.  Not quite as magical, but you can see the shape and everything. 

There are oodles more pretty dresses, of course.  Here's some more faves...

Pastels and bows that Emma Pilsbury would wear...

Full-skirted 50's retro...

Of course, I have nowhere to wear these.  But it's nice to be inspired!  Anyone have any great fall or winter party dresses planned??


Tutorial: How to take in and modify some crazy jeans

You saw my post yesterday about my lovely new (DIY) red jeans.  Did you hear the story?

This is what these $1.something pants looked like BEFORE.  Close to the most hideous garment ever made.  Aaaaaack!

They were also too big when I tried them on (which was scary on its own--I am not used to having pants come up above my belly button!)--too loose in this hips, though, where it mattered.

So today I'm gonna show you how to take in a pair of jeans--any pair, even a normal colored pair!--so they fit you in the hips and butt but don't look totally altered.

Let's start with some humor, shall we?  Here's a view of the back of the yoke of these jeans.  You can tell, obviously, that the first step in this alteration process for me was cutting off the excess yoke!  But I doubt you have super high waisted pants to work with, so this part probably won't apply to you.  So, unofficial step 1--cut off the top of the jeans.

Nice buckle, eh?

Anyway, now to the tutorial.

So, you want a pair of jeans to fit quite a bit more snugly at the top?  Follow this tutorial!
  • With your seam ripper or pointy thread snips, snip the topstitching and all the seams that attach the waistband to the jeans at the side seam.  Pick 2-3" on either side of the side seam.
  • Also unpick the little row of partial topstitching that goes from the waistband down 4" or so.  Hard to see what I mean in the pics above, but look at any regular pair of jeans and you'll see what I mean--on blue jeans, it's the classic gold stitching that goes down the side seam pressing the seam allowance to the back.  Unpick these stitches so that your seam allowance flies free.  Here's an inside view.
  • Here comes the actual taking-in part.  Fold the seam allowance flat and sew the side seam deeper, just like you're taking in any ol' seam.  I tapered my seam from about 5" down, where the jeans started to be too big.  They fit okay in the thighs, but were too loose in the hips and butt.
  • Do this on both sides, of course... Now try on the jeans.  Do they fit?  When I did this, I had to take a second pass to make them still tighter, and it helped to try them on and make sure I was starting the seam at the right point on the hips.
  • Once you get the fit right, re-do that top stitching on the side seam (press it to the back first).  Sew down your seam allowance from the top down about 4".
  • Bleh, now the not-so-fun part.  Now, you have to make the waistband look normal again.  You're going to sew right sides together at approximately where the side seam is, taking in the waistband the same amount you took in at the top of the jeans.  E.g., if you took in the top of the hip 2", you need to take 2" out of the waistband, too, then you can sew it back down flat.
  • I started by cutting the floppy excess waistband piece in half.
  • Then, taking out the same amount as you did on the hips (I just cut off the excess), sew the waistband back together.
  • Now you've got the waistband back together and you can re-fold and get ready to sew the three layers together (front and back waistband, jeans).
  • Here's the inside.  Pin the waistband piece back in place exactly where it was before...

  • Then do the same thing on the outside.  Lots of pins.

  • Re-do the top stitching!  Sew through all three layers, do the double seam look.
  • Re-do the top of the waistband's top stitching, also.

OMG!  Ta-da!  Done!

Custom-fit jeans!


One of you put it perfectly in your comment yesterday... you can totally pull off red jeans if you're in the right mindset--you gotta be in the mood for a) fun, and b) some attention!

I loved hearing your thoughts about red and colored jeans!  Glad I'm not the only one bewitched by the trend!

As for this tutorial, don't let the red distract you... it would work just as well on classic blue jeans!


You're not gonna believe these jeans.

It's How to Wear DIY time!

So here's the story behind these craaaazy pants (crazy for me, anyway!)

I'm sure you've heard or seen the red jeans trend.  Bright jeans are having a moment, and red and pink seem to be faves.  Sounds pretty extreme, right?  I was not too sure at first.  But bear with me here.

Bright red skirts are cute...

Bright red shorts are cute, and unexpected!

And check it out--when worn right, bright red jeans can be totally cute!

Are you with me?  Or is this a totally crazy, not-wearable trend?  (For any doubters or fans, check out my my Pinterest board for red jeans and strong brights.  I had to devote a whole pinboard to them!)

Something in me said, it's time I owned some jeans like that.  I'm not about to pay $150 or even $50 for some, but I did see some at Marshall's for $15 and Forever 21 for also cheap.  I was about to go back and buy them, when... a miracle occurred!

I was at Goodwill Outlet, looking for furniture (total bust that trip) when I saw something bright red poking out of one of the clothing bins.  Assuming it was a pair of early 90's high-waisted tapered awful jeans, I pulled on it out of curiosity.

But, no!  It was... a pair of late 2000's SUPER high-waisted tapered and SUPER awful jeans!!  Look at these things!

I'm pretty sure they're from one of those cheap, trashy strip mall stores... Hot Clothing or XX Wear or whatever's a step below DEB.  I'm making up these names, but I assume you know what I mean.  I vaguely remember a short phase of super high-waisted jeans, seen mostly in Guess ads and maybe a high fashion mag, but don't remember anyone wearing them.  And certainly not in red!

Anyway, with the red jeans trend on the mind and the DIY spirit I always carry with me, I bought them!  I was inspired to remake them into something wearable and cool.

I tried them on and found, not only were they exactly as ridiculous as they seemed, they were too big.  But, I was dedicated.  I did a very thorough and quality alteration job (I'm proud of myself!  Tutorial coming super soon!).  And, they turned into... this!

OMG, they are so cute and fun!!  I love them with my soft denim shirt.  And tan accessories, of course, like I learned how to do on Pinterest.  Here's your How to Wear DIY part of this story!

Like I said, super proud of my alterations work!  They fit great now!
Denim shirt and flats: Target via Goodwill. Bag: Wilson's Leather via Goodwill.
Necklace: Forever 21. Watch: American Eagle. Jeans: DIY!

Yes, that's my butt in red jeans.  Never thought I'd see the day.

So, have you tried out the bright jeans trend yet?!?  Thoughts?



Shabby Apple giveaway!

So excited to bring you a giveaway from Shabby Apple today!

They recently launched a new line, Academia.  Just in time for fall!  So many cute things.  It all lkind of reminds me of a Gilmore Girls, New England fall look... siiigh...
The Co-Ed skirt
The Academia dress
The Study Break dress
The PH.D dress
The 4.0 dress
Great colors, eh?!  The preppy navy and red and yellow look with a fall touch.

Well, lucky for you, Shabby Apple is giving away a super fun skirt from the new line to one of you readers!  Check this cutie out...
The Teacher's Pet skirt
Shabby Apple will give away this skirt to one of you--all you have to do is:

  1. Like Shabby Apple on Facebook
  2. Leave a comment on this post!
You MUST make sure I have a way to contact you if you win.

You can get extra entries by sharing this giveaway on:

For each thing you do, be sure to leave a comment telling me about it!

Giveaway ends Saturday, October 8th at midnight and I will announce the winner Sunday!  Good luck and have fun checking out the new goods at Shabby Apple!

*Open to US readers only, sorry!


Rug-shopping help!

I'm searching for a new rug for our living room.  I've never bought a rug new as an adult, and it's really time, I think.  I'm still decorating the townhouse we moved into earlier this year and would love something nice in the living room, the first room you see when you walk in!  But on a budget of course I won't be buying the Madeline Weinrib ones I love.  But I have a few other ideas.

For ages I've loved this rug from West Elm but am not quite ready to spend the big bucks.

I've seen it look so cute in so many rooms!  Love the chevrons and for something big enough for a whole room, buying rather than DIYing sounds like the more lasting choice for me.

Looking for a cheaper option, I checked out and  I found this one on RugsUSA:

But they're out of a lot of colors and sizes.

Anyone know of a good source for modern, geometric print rugs (preferably 100% wool) at good prices?


How to Wear DIY: Lace-trimmed shorts

Happy last day of summer!

With highs in the 80's for this week, it still feels like summer, although I've seen a few leaves turning.  This is a nice time of year in Oregon.

On a clothing note, I recently cleaned out my closet and ruthlessly got rid of things I don't wear.  I cut down my wardrobe by more than half!  It felt AMAZING!

But, it got me thinking, I only want to make my own clothes if I'm really going to wear them.  I've made some things that I love, either inspired by something else or made from a fabric I was in love with, but there are other things I've made that I never wear.  It's such a shame!  In my early years of sewing, I used to make things just because there was cheap fabric, and that was probably a great learning experience, but now I'd like to stick to things I'll really wear.

So, I thought I'd start by showing you how I do wear things I've made in a new series I'll call "How to Wear DIY."  The best feeling with DIY clothes is when you can put them together in super cute outfits so they don't look homemade or off-brand.  Luckily there are so many styles in fashion now, all kinds of looks can look great, so a wide range of DIY projects can be put together with storebought items for great outfits!

I'll start today, on this last official day of summer, with these shorts I made last July.  They were inspired by this page from Lucky Mag, and I did a tutorial for how to make your own.  Hey, and I just realized when I went back to that post... There are yellow shoes on the page, and check out what's on my feet when I wear the shorts!  This was unintentional...

Here are the shorts worn my way--I've been loving my soft denim shirt this year, and it's fun to pair it with something girly!  Plus, I always wish I could pull off shorts and heels... so it's great to have shorts that can be dressed up a little!

The belted waist makes me feel more feminine and less cowboy in the soft denim shirt.  I guess the intensely tall shoes do that, too!  (Interestingly, both were brand new Target donations I got at Goodwill, the shoes for $3.99!)
Shoes and denim shirt: Target via Goodwill. Tank: Gap. Belt: Charlotte Russe. 
Necklaces: Forever 21. Shorts: DIY!

So how about you?  Do you find it's easy or hard to wear things you've made with things you've bought?  There'll be more How to Wear DIY posts in the future, so think about it and challenge yourself to wear more!


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